Success is coloured green for worksite safety

Green yellow red card montage

A safety audit programme introduced by Lanes Group plc where work teams are issued with green, yellow and red cards for the way they organise their worksites is proving a significant success.

The drainage and utilities specialist introduced the card scheme in late 2016 to monitor its work and encourage best practice as the wastewater network services maintenance partner for Thames Water.

Teams are awarded a green card if a site is found to be set up well with no faults, a yellow card where there are one or two simple issues that can be quickly remedied, and a red card if faults are found that are serious or require significant intervention, such as additional training.

Over the first two calendar years the scheme has been in place – 2017 and 2018 – the number of red and yellow cards that have needed to be issued has fallen by 25% while the number of green cards awarded has increased by 37%.

The improvement has also coincided with a major increase in site safety audits after a target was set to carry out 500 audits per month. In 2017, there were 1,818 audits. In 2018, there were 5,672, a 312% increase, and an average of 472 audits per month.

Lanes Group Director Andy Brierley said: “We have many initiatives in place to continuously improve our health, safety and wellbeing. Our green, yellow, red card audit programme is proving to be one of the most significant.

“The programme gives us a clear measure of how well our work sites are set up to support safety excellence while it’s colour-coded clarity and simplicity is, we believe, actively encouraging colleagues to put the right measures in place to keep themselves and others safe.

“Receiving a green card is now seen by many colleagues as a badge of honour. It encourages pride and healthy competition within the workforce. While receiving a red card has is recognised as a serious matter that requires a swift and effective remedy.”

The green, yellow, red audits are most commonly carried out by health and safety advisors but can also be completed by senior managers and directors.

They follow a rigorous checklist which identified whether the site falls into the green, yellow, or red category. Where sites receive a red card, work must stop until measures are put in place to rectify issues identified.

Data can be analysed to identify trends and compare the site safety performance of operational teams across the Thames Water region.

The award of green cards is celebrated on the Lanes internal communication platform, Yammer, and publicised externally via social media channels to share good practice with stakeholders and clients.

Between 2017 and 2018, red cards issued as a proportion of the total fell from 3% to 1.5% and yellow cards from 56% to 42.5%. Over the same period, the proportion of green cards awarded increased from 41% to 56%.

Andy Brierley said: “By the end of 2018, our Accident Frequency Rate had fallen to zero, and benchmarking data showed Lanes teams had the best health and safety record in the Thames Water supply chain.

“Our green, yellow, red card scheme combines a rigorous approach to performance management with a way to encourage involvement by all operational teams, which is helping us strive to maintain and improve a strong safety culture.”

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